If you’re currently in the market to buy a new home, you probably know how important it for a listing to have clear, realistic, and well-lit photos.  After all, 98% of all buyers begin shopping for a home online and first impressions matter.  As one real estate agent said, picture appeal is the new curb appeal!”

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Photos that are too dark, cluttered, or pixellated don’t give you a good sense of what the home is really like and they’re simply not attractive.  And while having nice photos might seem like common sense, we bet you’re bound to come across a few poor quality photos as you browse through homes today – even for high-priced homes!

If you’re listing your home this spring, here’s how you can ensure that your home is showcased beautifully online:

1. Choose a real estate agent with strong visual marketing or uses a professional photographer.  While not all agents will hire a pro to take photos, this tends to be the norm in the $800,000+ market.  If they’re not planning on hiring somebody, ask to see samples of their past listings to get a sense of the photo quality.  If you’re bound to working with a real estate agent who is a family member or close friend and you worry about their photos, be sure to speak up!  Consider asking them to work with a photographer, or team up with another agent who takes better photos.

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2. Help your agent by decluttering ahead of time.  How many times have you seen house photos with “stuff” strewn around the room? Whether it’s dishes in the sink, shopping bags in the corner, or kid’s toys scattered on the floor, it can be distracting to homebuyers and even suggest that the owners aren’t maintaining the home well.

3. Speak up!  If you don’t like the photos and don’t feel like they represent your home well, be sure to let your real estate agent know.  He or she wants you to be satisfied with the way your home is marketed, and they should have no problem editing them or retaking them to suit your preferences.

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